Friday, 26 September 2008

Italian lessons

After last night's Italian class, I was determined to start speaking Italian to the Italians on the allotment, and saw a likely suspect as soon as I arrived. "Ciao!" I said. "Va bene?" I explained I was learning Italian and wanted to practise, and it was like magic! I asked him most of the questions I'd set myself to ask, like "Come ti chiami?" and "Come si scrive, il tuo cognome?" He said "Francesco Marzo" (or that's what it sounded like), but when I asked him to spell his surname, it only had three letters, which I think were MNO. Francesco is the allotment lech - he always kisses me when he sees me. He has a wife, but that doesn't deter him. He asked me if I wanted him to give me Italian lessons, and wanted to know where I lived.

Later, I tried talking to the little Italian lady in Italian, but she resolutely answered me in her usual fairly incomprehensible English. I found out her name though: Angelina. She said she was 72 and had been in England 42 years. Her husband was dead and her son was in Spain (she seemed to grimace at the mention of her son, as if he was no good, and having seen him, I wouldn't be surprised).

Francesco's Italian was very different from that of either of my teachers. But I could understand about half of it. God knows what he thought of mine. I'm just hoping to keep him at arm's length now.

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